Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Are You Experienced? / Wall vs. Main Street

Obama supporters have been hyping Obama as the "next JFK."

JFK as compared to Barack Obama, service-wise:

JFK:

1941-45: a lieutenant in the Navy in WWII, and a war hero.

1947-52: a US congressman.

1952-1957: a US Senator
1958: Re-elected Senator. Elected President in 1960.

JFK had 14 years of national experience: 6 in the House, 8 in the Senate before he decided to run for the presidency.

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Barack Obama:

1997 - 2004: Illinois State Senate. (During this time, Obama also taught at the University of Chicago and worked for a Chicago law firm.)

2004: Obama elected to the US Senate. He declares for President 2 years later.

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Sarah Palin:

1992: Wasilla City Council (4 years)
1996: Wasilla Mayor (6 years)
2003 - 2004: Chair of Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
2006: Elected Alaska Governor.

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I don't care how well-spoken Obama is or how nervous Palin is when speaking. Obama's less experienced than Sarah Palin when it comes to actually being in charge of anything. Though, Obama thought about running for president for a lot longer than she did, and so he has a lot more sound-bites at his disposal. The man has simply not put in his time and/or accomplished anything to warrant his being President. (I'll admit that Palin isn't particularly qualified to be President, either. However, the difference between Obama and Palin is that Palin is the VP choice---she didn't run for President, didn't presume to be at that level. McCain chose her for VP, so now she's cramming to catch up and rise to the occasion.)

Obama, on the other hand, himself decided that he was qualified. But, legislatively, he's been at the forefront of nothing and has contributed nothing nationally. In fact, he's been rather a well-spoken intellectual burden.

RE this current economic mess, for instance: John McCain warned about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their need for regulation years ago (in 2003 and 2005). At the same time, Obama was busy promoting, via the ACORN community-organizer group (which he once worked for in Chicago and maintains ties with), the cause of banks helping underqualified (i.e. "poor") buyers to purchase homes.

Who all do you think has been unable to make their house payments? The Obama Poor. The other part of the problem: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac took up said poor-and-minorities' loans earlier after pressure from the Democrats. Greedy banks then thought, "Well, the sub-prime loans are guaranteed by the government, so we can gamble on them." As someone on CNBC today pointed out, for every $1 in actual capital, the banks were $100 in debt because of those extremely risky loans. The common-sense ratio---had things been regulated---should have been much more like $1 capital to $10 debt. And then when the credit risks couldn't make their mortgage payments--surprise!--the banks were screwed. And I don't mean "slightly" screwed---they were and are screwed to the point of major institutions shutting down and threatening every type of loan most middle Americans once took for granted: ranging from something as minor as a car loan, to something middling like a college loan, to something major like a home or business loan. The money ... just ... ain't ... there ... any ... more.

Why? The ACORN-lobbied/liberal Democrat-supported high-risk house loans to the poor. And the banks' willingness to lend to high-risk borrowers just because the government said, via Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, that it was OK.

None of this is OK.

Friday, September 26, 2008

"Ivory Tower Intellectuals" and Sarah Palin

Back in the '50s and '60s in the U.S., it used to be popular for "regular folks" (and conservatives from Southern and Midwestern and Western states) to sling around charges of being an "ivory tower intellectual" at, say, presidential candidates like Adlai Stevenson, or powerful East Coast media sources like the New York Times that were perceived to be "snooty" or out-of-touch with common-sense realities. Nowadays, the "ivory tower" moniker has been replaced with the simpler "elitist." Still flung at candidates (Obama) and the Times.

It's a defensive, insecure charge, admittedly. (Trying to denigrate something that, while it may indeed be "hoity-toity," is also still obviously of quality.) Yet this name-calling came about of necessity---the nationwide media really was, as it still is (though less-so, thanks to the Internet), centered in the Northeast, and it really was, and is, run primarily by men who had attended Ivy League schools and who all tended to have a certain mind-set about how things should be run, and who looked down on "lesser educated" folk from other "backward" (i.e., "non-Northeastern") parts of the country. Who wouldn't be offended by being so sneered at and belittled? Who wouldn't fight back? (Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan, to name a few politicians. Though the "fighting back" didn't reach its apotheosis of skill until the Reagan-era.)

As I've mentioned on this blog before, I've always voted Democrat since I first was old enough to vote (1984). As a teen and college student, I always mocked those who mocked the "ivory tower intellectuals" as being, yes... "backward." As a kid not yet out in the world, their charges of "elitism" and "bias" seemed ludicrous, nothing but noise made by those who felt inferior.

However, this fall cycle of the 2008 election has made me re-think my earlier dismissal of those who criticized the "elite" for their bias. Since Sarah Palin was announced as McCain's running mate, the media first tried desperately to find mis-deeds during her term as Alaska governor. All they could come up with was "Trooper-gate"---Palin allegedly trying to fire her ex-brother-in-law because he'd tasered his 11-year-old stepson, illegally shot a moose, drank on the job, and threatened to shoot his father-in-law in the head.

When the idiotic "Trooper-gate" didn't pan out, the onslaught of the "elite" media attention quickly turned to idiotic things like: (1) Palin didn't go to "elite" schools like Obama did; and (2) Palin didn't even get a passport until last year. (Implying, "What a rube!")

Katie Couric, in an interview this week on CBS, asked Palin directly about the passport question, wondering if Palin didn't even "feel some curiosity about other cultures." Palin's simple response struck a chord with me: She said that, while she would have liked to have travelled to other countries as a youth, she just never had the money to do so, nor did her family have the money to let her do so. (And, as she got older, she had a family to take care of.)

I personally have a current passport, so this ridiculous "charge" could not be levelled against me. But I have a passport because my mother is German, and I'm a dual citizen of Germany and the U.S. (The four times I've been to Germany have been because my mother paid for it.) If it weren't for that, I would be exactly in Sarah Palin's position of having to defend myself against charges of "not feeling any curiosity about other cultures" (regardless of how much curiosity I actually felt) just because I'd been too poor for most of my life to be able to afford a summer, or a vacation, in Europe.

For the media to make constant snide comments about Palin's lack of travel was, indeed, an example of "elitism" and snobbery at its very worst. (Reminding me, also, of my one college interview---In the spring of my senior year, I'd already been accepted at UT-Austin; the only other school I'd applied to was Yale. At the Yale interview at an alumnus's office in Fort Worth (I can't remember the man's face, but I remember the incredibly thick carpets in his office), the rich businessman asked me where I'd "vacationed summers" during my high school years... "Um, I've been working at K-Mart the last two summers to earn money for college." Ouch! Obviously not Yale material! ;p

As for Palin's "crap state schools": As a graduate of one of the top universities in the world (#32 by this ranking, and ranked 15th by the London Times), I'm darn proud of UT, yet I also know that I just went there because I was a smart Texas local, and UT made it relatively cheap for smart locals to go to school there. Palin grew up in Alaska, tried out Hawaii and Idaho schools, finally graduating from Idaho State, I think. Did she not go on to an "elite" school like Columbia because she wasn't smart? Probably not the reason. She probably wasn't able to go to such schools because her grandparents didn't pay her way to an expensive liberal arts "starter school" (like Obama's grandparents paid for his Occidental College education). Nor was she eligible for any race-based admissions to schools such as Columbia. (Obama himself said that his grades at Occidental weren't good. How, then, did he ever get admitted to Columbia?)

I think denigrating Palin for what schools she went to, or the status of her passport, are completely ludicrous, and desperate, criteria. The "ivory tower intellectuals" have learned to bitch-and-moan with their "lesser" citizens.

And a final note about the complete bias against Palin in the media: This week, Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden claimed on the CBS Evening News, re the financial crisis: "When the stock market crashed, FDR got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened.'" Only trouble is: (1) The stock market last crashed in 1929---when Herbert Hoover, not FDR, was President. (2) Television didn't make an appearance until 1939.

I saw two snippets in papers about Biden's stupid comments. Imagine what a huge blow-up it would have been if Palin had said such a dumb thing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Humans' desire to know

In real-life, who can you stare at with impunity/immunity, without feeling weird or having to look away? Only babies and little kids.

Aside from that, we're absolutely starved for being able to watch our fellow human beings. Just as we're starved for being able to have some insight into what strangers are thinking.

Thus the invention and power of the movies. And of blogs. Both enable you to look and look and look, without being judged yourself.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bowing Before the Goddess of Good Hair

One reason I like Sarah Palin:

"Sarah Palin, a commercial fisherman from Wasilla, told her husband on Tuesday she was driving to Anchorage to shop at Costco. Instead, she headed straight for Ivana. And there, at J.C. Penney's cosmetic department, was Ivana, the former Mrs. Donald Trump, sitting at a table next to a photograph of herself. She wore a light-colored pantsuit and pink fingernail polish. Her blonde hair was coiffed in a bouffant French twist. 'We want to see Ivana,' said Palin, who admittedly smells like salmon for a large part of the summer, 'because we are so desperate in Alaska for any semblance of glamour and culture.'" [Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), 4/3/96]



Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sister Sarah



This whole thing is hilarious. I love seeing "Mr. Cool" Obama freaking out on the trail, stooping to creepy "lipstick on a pig" comments---then the Harvard Law grad, usually so sure of his language, denying he had any idea of his comment's connotations.

His camp's highly disturbed and frazzled because he's no longer the "hot new thing."

I don't know why I'm feeling so gleeful about Palin's current upsurgence. Maybe it's left-over bitterness about the Obama/Hillary campaign. Hillary, the stalwart, run over by the new guy who had nothing to say but the slogan, "Change." (When, in fact, as Hillary herself said in one of the interminable debates, she'd been working for change for 35 years.) And then Obama's support for federal wiretapping. And his campaigning against NAFTA in Michigan earlier this year while secretly telling Canadian officials he was for it. And his snarky comments to a San Francisco crowd that working-class America was just clinging to "religion and guns," or somesuch. (As Palin aptly said in her convention speech: "Where most of us come from, we don't talk one way in Scranton, PA, and another way in San Francisco." Amen, sister.)

I've voted Democrat since I was first able to vote. Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, Kerry.

And I've always mocked people who claimed to not be able to make up their minds so close to election day.

But I'm honestly torn. Obama's stances are ideal. I'd vote for him in a second if I thought he meant what he said. But he doesn't, as the NAFTA and wiretapping instances demonstrate. And it's true that he's little more than a showboat: First elected to the US Senate in 2004, he began his campaign for President only a year later.

And he mocks Palin for being governor of Alaska for only 18 months. (As I mentioned before, she's made many more executive decisions that she's directly accountable for and that affected her citizens than Obama's ever made. And her approval rating is 80% in her state.)

That said, it's not PALIN vs. Obama. If you compare McCain vs. Obama, there's also a huge disparity in the quality of decision-making. McCain, as Senator, was, and is, a true legislator---major attempts at finance reform, immigration reform. Obama, on the other hand, hasn't done a thing other than talk a good game and hype himself. McCain's visually an old, stiff geezer, but at least he has an actual record of serving his country, whether physically (as a POW) or legislatively (in the Senate). Obama, on the other hand, has done nothing so far, other than, as Hillary Clinton said, "give a good speech in 2002."

Monday, September 08, 2008

Cute!




Lindsay and Samantha Ronson at Fashion Week this week in NYC. (p.s. I walked by the famous "fashion week" tent set up in Bryant Park today... It looks really tiny from the outside! There were lots of media trucks parked on the surrounding streets, and lots of people milling about in the surrounding park...but "Bryant Park" itself is very small---just a block wide---and the famous tent only takes up maybe a quarter of it. As I was walking by the outskirts, I looked and looked for Lindsay, or ANY famous person for that matter, but alas, did not see!) ;p

Seeing pictures of "Lindsay and Sam," though, just put me in a good mood in general. There's so much "trendy lesbo stuff" in the media---oh, like "Madonna-and-Britney-kissing!" or the "edgy" "I Kissed a Girl" song! Etc. Etc. Blah. It's mostly manufactured and annoying fake kid stuff, posing as lesbians just to get some attention.

I like seeing Lindsay and Samantha Ronson pictures because they usually look like they're actually having a good time together---either laughing at something, or making weird faces, or holding each other, or just looking mutually blankly at the camera like, "WHAT do you want?" They're not posing for anything. They're just together.

Which is actually pretty big psychological news for everyone else watching: It's not like "goofy Ellen" or "butchy Rosie" or "butchy Melissa"---- I don't know that there's a big "announcement" necessary for the media, since what LL and SR are to each other is pretty evident. As it should be.

The two have also been pretty active on their blogs lately, which is interesting to see, since celebs don't usually put themselves out there for others to comment on, blog-wise! Their messages intertwine emotionally. When they've been apart, they miss each other. And one big thing in the past couple of days has been Lindsay's dad, Michael, acting up in public, claiming that Samantha is only with Lindsay because she wants to write a book (!). I love both of their honest responses on their blogs to his asshole-ness and cluelessness. (And I also like seeing their music choices for the day or hour. Like real teenagers on a real blog!)

Here's Lindsay's real blog link:

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=29730276

And here's one of her songs for Samantha:



(How lucky she is to put her emotions out there and not be stomped on as a result... She's got a woman who loves her.)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sarah Barracuda



I've never looooooved Barack Obama during this long campaign season. In fact, I rather disliked him during his primary contests against Hillary. (One debate moment stood out in my mind, when Hillary angrily said something like, "You've been talking about change, but I've been WORKING for change for 35 years!" Amen, Sister. Same thing when Hillary made the point during a press conference that both she and John McCain had experience, but Obama had... a speech he made in 2002.)

After Obama won the contest, I was convinced I was going to vote for him. I'd heard silly reports on the news that "feminists" were "disgruntled" and were going to go over to McCain's side because they felt that Hillary had been disrespected. I never felt that she had been disrespected. I did feel the loss was IFFY---Close as it was, for instance, had it been 1984, the Party Regulars would have wrangled the Super Delegate votes for Hillary, and she would have been the nominee. (In '84, Gary Hart won late big-delegate contests like California; he could have been a contender had not the party tamped him down.)

Though I'm a Hillary fan, I was still ready to get on the Obama Bandwagon, especially after last week's convention spectacle. Obama's speech, in particular, was more than "just" a spectacle. I listened aptly. I got chills. Yes, things DO need to change...

And then came the following week's announcement of Sarah Palin as John McCain's vice presidential nominee... Upon first attention, I thought, "I absolutely hate this 'hockey mom' shit. She's just another Dan Quayle. What in the hell was John McCain thinking?" And I hated even worse what I thought was going to be the inane focus on family: "She's a mom! With a SPECIAL NEEDS child!" And then came the pregnant daughter news, which made me recoil even more: "This is a fucking white trash nightmare---how much worse can you get? A retarded kid AND a knocked-up teenager? Jesus H. Christ, I do NOT want to have to listen to her cutesy 'And here are my kids Trig, Trap, Snatch, Patch, Snig, Snog, and Boogely' for the next 2 months!"

Luckily, her speech Thursday night at the Republican Convention wasn't cutesy or stupid for more than, oh, 30 seconds or so. After the "My husband is World Champion of...glkfhlsjkhdflk," (what the fuck? snow-mobiling or something?), she got into her main points: "Barack Obama authored 2 memoirs, but never a single piece of legislation." And the fact that, even as mayor of a tiny town in Alaska (Wasilla, 9,000), she still had to make more actual decisions than Obama ever had to make. (She also wondered aloud what exactly a "community organizer" did. I watched an MSNBC doc on Obama that touted his "community organizing" skills. From what I garnered from the program, his sole accomplishment was that he called attention to asbestos in one apartment complex. And then when it took 3 years to get the problem fixed, he got discouraged and decided to go back to law school.)

Listening to Palin's speech made me embarrassed for both Barack Obama and myself (for supporting him). The guy voted "Present" (rather than "Yea" or "Nay") an embarrassing number of times while both in the Illinois State Senate and in the US Senate. Obviously trying to protect himself and avoid any clear-cut stance that would come to haunt him in a later campaign. As the attack-dog Giuliani also pointed out in his speech Thursday, an executive has to be able to make tough decisions. Voting "Present" to protect one's political hide and appease potential voters isn't anywhere near good or bold enough.

In short, listening to Palin made me understand that the woman was hands-on INVOLVED in her community. She'd grown up there. She became a member of the town's PTA, tried for the city council, tried for mayor... Later tried for governor of the entire state.

What, on the other hand, did Obama ever do for his community? Travelled briefly through the "South Side of Chicago" before deciding to ditch the struggle and go to Harvard? (Then, after Harvard, upon coming back to Chicago, he won his State Senate seat by getting his opponent---a black woman, a supposed friend and mentor of his, and a longtime member of the community---kicked off the ballot on a technicality.)

Barack Obama has not earned a thing. (He has, on the other hand, FINAGLED and talked his way into quite a few things.) Hillary tried to argue this point, but she was hampered by the fact that she herself had only come to prominence as a result of her husband.

Sarah Palin, brief as her career thus far has been, is a self-made woman. And her arguments for John McCain (and watching McCain's convention speech tonight) made me re-evaluate what I thought was my solid support for a Democrat (any Democrat) this year.

Aside from McCain's unmatched physical service to our country, he actually does also have a long legislative history as a senator, working with Democrats Feingold and Lieberman, among others, on issues of campaign finance reform, immigration reform, judicial reform. He didn't always get his way, but the man TRIED, in an ongoing nonpartisan way. Not in "sexy" fields assured to garner press attention, but rather, for the sake of good government.

It took Palin and her convention speech to shake me out of my "of course I'm voting for Obama, I've always voted Democrat" lethargy and to make me THINK for a second.



(My old friend Ginny, who loved Heart, would also love the fact that the Republicans played "Barracuda" at their convention, in honor of Palin. Hi, Gin!) :)

Lindsay's Blog (Sept. 2)

Lindsay's Blog
Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Political Blog

I've been watching the news all morning, like everyone else - and i keep hearing about the issues related to 'teen pregnancy'- It's all related to Sarah Palin and her 17 year old unmarried pregnant daughter. Well, I think the real problem comes from the fact that we are taking the focus off of getting to know Sarah Palin and her political views, and what she can do to make our country a less destructive place. Its distracting from the real issues, the real everyday problems that this country experiences.

I am concerned with the fact that Sarah Palin brought the attention to her daughter's pregnancy, rather than all world issues and what she believes she could possibly do to change them-if elected. I get Sarah Palin's views against abortion, but i would much prefer to hear more about what she can do for our country rather than how her daughter is going to have a child no matter what.

Maybe focus on delivering some words and policy with stronger impact like Joe Biden.
See below for Barack Obama's thoughts:

From Alexander Marquardt
MONROE, Michigan (CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama said firmly that families are off-limits in the campaign for president, reacting to news that GOP running mate Sarah Palin's 17-year-old daughter is pregnant.

"Let me be as clear as possible," Obama said. "I think people's families are off-limits, and people's children are especially off-limits. This shouldn't be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin's performance as governor or her potential performance as a vice president."

Obama said reporters should "back off these kinds of stories" and noted that he was born to an 18-year-old mother.

"How a family deals with issues and teenage children, that shouldn't be the topic of our politics, and I hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that's off-limits." »


On another note-the last note- i heard a woman say on TODAY on NBC that teens are feeling as if they have to grow up faster. Really? Because, i think that girls that are CHOOSING to be sexually active and are making a conscious decision to grow up faster..... I think that parents need to recognize how important it is to talk to their children about the things that can result from being sexually active if they aren't protecting themselves (birth control, condoms, etc.)

So-those are my thoughts for the day. Enjoy the music :) xoxo
Currently listening :
Forever Young
By Rod Stewart
Release date: By 2005-11-07

1:15 PM - 1056 Comments - 865 Kudos

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Dumb High-School Boyfriends Made Good

In all my current blurriness, I have nothing better to do than look up old high-school people on the web.

I dated a Mormon guy my senior year of high school. He'd just moved from California, where he'd been converted by a girlfriend he kept talking about. Before his conversion, he used to be into drugs and rock-n-roll. After he arrived in Azle, Texas, he still played guitar, but the thrill was gone.

He was a nice person, but there was no spark. I tried mentally, though: At the time, I was into "exploring religion," so I attended his branch of the Mormon church in Azle (and took to reading the Book of Mormon). (One of the elders had no answer when I asked him where cave people came from, since Adam and Eve allegedly appeared so perfectly intact...) There was also a big dramatic moment when I was working on the school paper, and he left the newsroom, saying he was going home... When I looked downstairs, there he was, talking to some other girl! When he called me that night, there was a big blow-up over the girl...He ended up driving 20 miles to appease me. For no reason, really. After dating for about 2 months, we broke up soon after.

Anyway... When I just looked him up, I found out he is now an Assistant Principal in Utah----making $68,000 a year! The guy was stupid! Not said in a mean way, but the guy was really not very intelligent at all! And he's now making $68,000 a year! What the fuck!

Feeling Blurry

I hate not having regular employment. Yes, I'm working, but it's almost completely random very-late-night temp stuff, combined with maybe 10 hours per week at a local newspaper. Both where I hardly speak to anyone for hours at a time. It's a very sporadic, weird existence, one where I hardly ever have to venture out in daylight hours, but only get carted around via limos after dark. And end up going to sleep at 7am or so, then waking up at 3pm. I'm a night-owl by nature, but this is all rather unpleasant and strange. I'm feeling pasty and sluggish and sun-deprived. I keep thinking about the Woody Allen movie "Deconstructing Harry," where, for some reason, the Robin Williams character discovers that he's all of a sudden become quite literally...BLURRY.

I feel blurry. Not literally, as in the movie, but something close. For example, I just walked to a fast-food place today, and when I ordered, I sounded, even to myself, like a mumbling idiot, and I had to repeat myself to the counter-girl. (How hard can it be to order a Quarter Pounder and McNuggets?) I'm in New York, the capital of communications, and I'm a very verbal person by nature, but... this night work and waking up at 3pm is making a slug out of me. I'm not happy like this. I'm going to do it as long as it takes, but still...it's psychologically hard.